Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
We actually made this in the summer, as an easy recipe to make for a big hungry group. All the time is in the prep, which you can do several hours in advance, leaving you the rest of your day to sit back and enjoy with nothing to do except pop it in the oven.
The key to it’s simplicity is frozen spinach, rather than wrestling with fresh. However, the flip side is that you need to squeeze it thoroughly (through cheesecloth) in order to remove all the moisture.
The texture of your pie depends on it.
- 4 pounds frozen chopped spinach
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
- 5 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 bunch dill, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 1 pound cottage cheese
- 1 1/2 pounds feta cheese, broken up into small pieces
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 packet phyllo dough
- 1 cup clarified butter
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Thoroughly drain the spinach of all water by squeezing it in a cheesecloth.
- Over medium heat, melt butter with scallions and cook until scallions are soft and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes
- Transfer to a large bowl and add dill, salt, pepper, eggs, cottage cheese, feta cheese, spinach, and olive oil. Fold ingredients together until fully combined, careful to not break up feta. Do not overmix.
- Now prepare the phyllo. Lightly butter a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Prepare phyllo by removing from package and unfurling it. You should have around 25 to 30 sheets. As you work, cover the dough with a damp tea towel or moistened paper towel on top to prevent it from drying out. Carefully peel off one sheet of phyllo and lay it on the bottom of pan. Sheets of phyllo should not be pulled tight. Instead, lay it in a crumbled fashion to create a textured layer. With pastry brush, generously spread with clarified butter until the sheet is moistened.
- Continue until you have used half of your total filo dough (about 10 to 15 sheets). Spread filling over the sheets of phyllo in an even layer, to the ends of the dish. Begin the process of covering with phyllo and brushing with butter until two to three sheets of phyllo remain. Pull the final sheets tightly over the top of the dish to create a smooth top. Brush top layer with clarified butter.
- Bake at for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown.
- Check after 1 hour for browning. Serve at room temperature